Friday, November 26, 2010

So thankful for...

Thanksgiving, originally uploaded by JenSig.

This. These kids. This husband. I am the luckiest.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hi There

Oof. So this daily blog posting thing really isn't happening for me, is it? But I'll plug away when I can, which is why I'm on here now.

THe kids are off school for the entire week because of furlough days. Owen kicked off his weeklong vacation with a bout of the stomach flu, which came on Friday morning and lasted precisely 24 hours. The other two kids have managed to avoid it so far, although Isla did seem like she was coming down with something yesterday when she threw up a little on the cute holiday dress that Jacquie was trying on her yesterday — and yes, it was the holiday dress that we were pretty sure was NOT going to be the one we chose.

But I'm thinking perhaps she's getting another back tooth or that she only just got a little touch of the flu, because she made it all the way through the the night last night (I had worried that she might get sick in the night) and is happy as a clam this morning.

In other news, a visit to Santa is in order this week, as is a trip with several friends to see the new Harry Potter movie. (Edie is very sad that I am not letting her come with us because I think it will be too scary for her. So I've promised to take her to see Tangled sometime soon instead.

I've got Christmas cards to do, gifts to finish buying, things to finish making, and lots to wrap. But right now the older kids are still in bed and Isla and I are out here in the living room enjoying the morning. I've had coffee... she's had milk... gonna be a good day, I think.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Projects Galore!

See, here's the thing. I'm busy, y'all. BUSY! And I know that's boring for me to say and boring for you to read, but it's true... you wanna breakdown?

Kids have two separate school schedules (Edie gets out midway through the day, as kinder is only half day), so automatically I have to be at the school three times on any given day. I also try and volunteer in both kids' classrooms about once a week. Then there's homework. And extracurricular activities for both older kids, multiple times a week. And lets not forget that I work, too, freelance, so there's that.

And now, with the holidays looming ominously before me, I have PROJECTS! THings to sew and knit and cook and bake and share and do and teach... some of my current projects include a knitted stocking for Isla (since when I made them last year, I didn't make one for baby-to-be; partly because I ran out of time, and partly since I didn't know if she was a boy or a girl so I couldn't decide how I wanted to do it); gifts I want to make for teachers; a TOTALLY AWESOME project I am making for the kids for Christmas, but that's a story in and of itself — let's just say that it is big and cool and will be unveiled very soon — but imagine the logistics of trying to make something IN SECRET from three kids. The only time I can work on said secret project is in the evenings after they are in bed, or in the mornings while Edie and Owen are at school, but don't forget that this is also dependent on Isla taking a morning nap, because if she doesn't, well... not much work is going to get done. But that also means that it all has to be put away before any kids waken or come home from school...

I will say, I am good at multitasking... I like to work on projects while watching TV, which means I feel like I'm actually accomplishing something instead of just sitting on my bum in front of the boob tube. But still.

Don't even get me started on the projects I have on my list for things I want to do around the house, a never-ending wish list, it seems. There is never enough time, never enough weekends, never enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. I guess that means I shouldn't ever be bored.

Chaos reigns supreme around here... I'm just sayin'.

Friday, November 12, 2010


According to a movement mostly powered by social networking and the internet (hello, Facebook), today is To Write Love On Her Arms Day. That is my arm in the photo, and I have been wearing the word "love" on it all day.

The brief explanation is that TWLOHA is a non-profit organization devoted to helping people suffering from depression, addiction, self-injury (cutting) and suicide — to give those people hope and the resources they need to get help.

I can't begin to express how much this organization and what it does moves me. I have known people very close to me who have suffered from depression and addiction, and while I can't personally relate to what it feels like to be in that dark a place, I am happy that people like Jamie Tworkowski (TWLOHA founder) have done their part to bring this disease and all its incarnations out in the open.

"You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Short Post

I don't really have anything exciting to report this evening, but since I did promise myself to at least TRY and post every day in November, I'm making the effort.

The kids were off school today for Veteran's day, and tomorrow is a furlough day, so they have a 4-day weekend; Owen went back down to Carlsbad to hang out with Jacquie and Honey for their last two nights down there; that left me and the girls to hang out today and tomorrow. Today we went to Target and poked around for a bit. We were there to buy a present for a birthday party that Edie has been invited to tomorrow at that den of sin and iniquity, Chuck E Cheese.

It's sometimes really nice to split the kids up in this way, and I'm speaking mainly of Owen and Edie. While they do get along remarkably well most of the time, they do nag and pick at each other, too, and it can get quite noisy around here with the two of them shouting their opinions at one another. I like to consider this the "divide and conquer" strategy; Owen got a little special one-on-one time with his grandma and great-grandma (and is I'm sure getting very spoiled in the process!), and Edie and Isla and I got to hang out and have "girl time" together, which she just loves.

Soon I will send her off to bed, and then I'll snuggle down with a glass of wine and watch some TV...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monthly Newsletter — Month 11

Dear Isla,

Today you are 11 months old, and are just so full of delightful energy and curiosity, sometimes I feel full to bursting.

You are completely and fully mobile now, and alternately crawl and "walk" around the room, reaching for things you know you aren't supposed to have and smiling impishly at me in the process. Now you know when you aren't supposed to have something, and you try and get away from me when you see me coming, crawling as fast as your butt can wiggle and squealing with delight at the thrill of the chase.

There always seems to be a constant stream of jibber jabber pouring from your mouth, these days, too... "Mama" is really the only discernible word you say with any clarity, but that's not to say that it is by any means the ONLY thing you say — we just don't know what else you are telling us, but you certainly say what you have to say emphatically and with great gusto. What's funny is, your words do have inflection, so it sounds like you are just speaking your own special baby language. Just this morning you were in my bed with me for a little bit after you got up, and you were playing with the remote control that operates our ceiling fan; it has tons of buttons on it, and makes the light go on and off, so you were having a great time playing with it. Finally, you held it up to your ear like a telephone and started chattering away! I nearly died of the cuteness of that moment.

A few weeks ago you developed a runny nose, and it remained for three solid weeks... and at the end of those three weeks you had three new molars to show for it! You now have nearly a full set of chompers, and you love to eat more than just about anything else in the world.

Owen and Edie still get a kick out all the new things you are constantly doing, and you remain their biggest fan. Every morning when it's time to wake Edie up for school, I grab you from the crib and yell, "Dog pile on Edie!" and then I swoop you across the room to plop you on top of your sister, who always pretends to still be sleeping, but the little smile on her face gives her away. And you almost always bend over to plant a big, wet kiss on Edie's face, chattering away your very own version of "good morning" in Isla-language.

It's hard for me to believe you are going to be one year old in a month... I keep looking at all three of you and marveling at how big and grown up Owen and Edie are getting, and realizing that I'm not quite ready.... that maybe you were a special gift to me for that very reason. And each night when I go to check on you in your crib before I go to bed, I press a kiss to your forehead and whisper softly in your ear, "Don't grow up... don't grow up."

I know it's inevitable, of course... but that doesn't keep me from still wishing for it, all the same.

I love you, sweet baby girl...
Love, Mama

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pretty on the Inside

"Mommy, look at my hair. Aren't I pretty, Mama?" She prances in front of the mirror, skipping back and forth on her tip-toes.

"Yes, love," I say sincerely, because she IS a very pretty little girl.

She continues: "And I am just SO pretty, Mama, the prettiest girl in school!"

I sit her down so I can tie her shoe. "Yes," I say again, trying to form the words I want to say to her, to convey what I mean in ways that mean something to a 5-year-old girl. "It's nice to be pretty on the outside, sweetheart... but it's better to be pretty on the inside."

She cocks her head as she looks at me, trying to understand my meaning. "What I mean is, lots of times people can be pretty on the outside, but ugly on the inside; they can be mean or just not very nice. It's much more important to be a sweet girl, a NICE girl. And a smart girl, too, one who uses her brains."

"I'm smart, Mommy," she says.

"Yes, honey. And you're nice to people, too."

She reaches out and hugs me close. "I can be pretty on the inside AND pretty on the outside."

Yes, love. Yes, you can.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On Birth Order

I made a comment the other day to someone that, as far as I can tell, my kids pretty accurately embody those traits that define so-called "birth order." It's interesting for me to watch them (trying to do so as objectively as I can, of course) and really see that their unique characteristics that make up who they are as individuals really do seem to typify what are commonly seen as birth order personality traits.

Owen, as a first-born (and a male firstborn at that) is a typical, nurturing people pleaser who craves approval from those around him. I see this really clearly in the way he is at school, which is conscientious and careful to do the right thing, always trying to please his teacher. He is also very sweet (well... MOST of the time) to his two younger sisters, which I can only imagine will make him a really great husband to some lucky girl some day.

As a middle child, Edie is the attention-getting personality in the bunch, always singing and dancing, expressing her creativity in as many outlets as she can find. She used to say she wanted to grow up and be an artist, like her Uncle Tom, but now she says she wants to be a singer... like Taylor Swift. (Hey, she could have WAY worse influences than that, right?) She is friendly and outgoing, and LOVES to strike a pose whenever the camera is pointed her way.

And Isla is my little good-time charlie. Of course, she isn't even 1 yet, so it's difficult to really know what her personality will be as she grows older, but she is quick to laugh and is remarkably laid-back and easy-going. I have long said that these third children really have to learn how to go with the flow, since we're always off on the run doing something or other with the two older kids, and the young ones get dragged along... and this one almost always does everything with a huge grin on her face. Who knows? She'll probably be class clown, cutting it up for anyone who will listen and give her a laugh.

And while I realize that the study of birth orders is by no means an exact science, I do find it interesting that my kids seem to really embody a lot of those characteristics. Things to think about...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Getaway

We spent the weekend down in Carlsbad, since Honey has her timeshare down there this week, which is my excuse for not posting yesterday... today was the Carlsbad street fair, which is always fun, and otherwise it was a whole lot of lounging around, reading, playing the stupidly addicting Angry Birds game, and not a whole lot else.

One thing that really hit me over the last two days is how grown up the kids — and most especially Owen — are becoming. This particular condo has a pool and recreation room that are pretty enclosed (needing a key to enter), and this was the first time we've let the kids go down to the rec room all by themselves. They wanted to pick out a movie to watch from the selection they keep on hand, so I agreed that they could go but that they must go together. I generally tried to impress upon Owen that, as the big brother, he really needed to take care of his little sister.

Well, they had a blast, and were delighted with themselves when they selected a movie and signed out for it at the desk all on their own. Many trips were made to the rec room for no other reason than simply that they were ALLOWED to do this by themselves, which of course made them feel very self-important and grown-up. At one point, the phone rang in our room, and it was Owen, calling to inform me that Edie was on her way up to the room and he wanted to make sure she'd made it back safely.

I'm not really sure why this in particular struck such a chord... perhaps I was remembering moments just like this from my own childhood — I can distinctly recall the feeling of freedom when our parents would let Tom and me go to a rec room or even down the hall to get ice if we were staying in a hotel, and how great that felt, as a little kid.

Simple pleasures, I suppose. In any case... the time changed, and with it, our days suddenly became shorter. Now if only the weather would begin to cooperate, it might actually begin to feel like fall.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Baby Milestone Moment

So Isla pretty consistently wakes up these days with a dry diaper. Not like once in a while, but almost EVERY day. So recently I purchased a little potty seat to have her "practice" sitting on the potty — I mean, she's DRY, so... why not? (The potty I purchased for her has a softly cushioned seat on it, and the tagline on the box said: "A Comfy Cushy for a Happy Tushy!")

And she sits there happily, little chubby legs kicking the sides of the potty seat and clapping her hands, generally watching her big sister go potty on the big toilet at the same time.

Well, this morning, Isla was happily cooing and clapping, and suddenly... she peed! And not just a few drops... but a regular, big ol' morning PEE! So of course we clapped and cheered and make much to-do about pouring the pee into the toilet and waving bye bye as the water went down.

Of course it was just a fluke, but who knows? Maybe she'll be one of those babies who potty trains extra early.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Busy, Whirlwind Kind of Life

So school is in full swing, and while you might think that since Edie is now in kindergarten it would provide me with a whole lot more free time than I had before, the exact opposite is actually true. Between Isla and her nap schedule (which is often getting pushed aside because of all the shuttling around I have to do) and the fact that Edie is only in school for half-day kindergarten, I feel like it's a constant whirlwind of running to and from school and then trying to cram in other errands and things in the small spaces in between.

Not that I'm complaining. And, as in past years, I feel fortunate that I am able to be home and volunteer in the kids' classes, so I've been doing that as well. We recently had our first Art Masters lesson of the year (if you were following my old blog, you'd know what this is), and it turned out really cute. At my dad's suggestion last year, I decided to photograph the entire class' finished products, which I'll show you below. The artist was Helen Hardin, about whom I knew absolutely nothing before this particular lesson, but have become a fan based on her amazing Native American artworks, many of which you can see by doing a simple Google image search.

This is Owen's second-grade class:

And these are the projects from Edie's kindergarten class:

The projects were really fun, and the kids seemed to enjoy doing them, too. Next time: Rembrandt's use of chiaroscuro (light/dark value).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Having Made a Decision

So if you are one of the handful of people still following this blog (not that I'd blame you if you left me, since my posts have been pretty sparse since the death of my old blog), then I am formally apologizing for my absence here of late.

I think when the old blog died, I kind of felt like all that hard work (seven years of typing my thoughts into this thing!) had been wasted, much to my frustration. And I have to say, it's been hard to motivate myself to get back into it. The monthly letters to baby Isla have been the only consistency here since the summer, and I have alternately toyed with everything from shutting it down entirely to taking the time to re-input all the old entries from the old site to everything in between.

But I have also missed having this as a creative outlet (despite the fact that I don't always have the TIME to do it) and have decided today to make a conscious decision to start writing in here again, today. And considering that November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I thought I would do a post a day — or at least attempt it, anyway. So I'll be back again soon, hopefully with a little more to say.